Race Review – Alexandria Turkey Trot

Hey y’all! Sorry I neglected you guys! I’m sure you’ve consoled yourselves with tons of leftover turkey.

But man, between training for the Las Vegas Rock N Roll half marathon, finishing up online scuba classes, major work projects (including a complete redesign of the magazine website and revamp of the editorial process), the usual house work, figuring out the logistics for our future trips (in-country air, hotels, etc.), watching all that reality TV and reading all those trashy tabloids, and I’ve been busier than a one-legged man at a butt kicking contest.

So, since I’m so dang busy, I figured I’d heap something else on my plate on Thanksgiving Day: my first Turkey Trot.

I don’t do a lot of Turkey Trots because I don’t like running in the cold. Thanksgiving is usually pretty cold. Too cold to go out and run a 5k. But the weather’s been pretty good here in these parts lately, so when I saw the last call to register on Twitter on Tuesday, I figured, why not? And it started at 10, which isn’t too early at all. Plus, it was right in my backyard – I walked to the start line from my house.

The Alexandria Turkey Trot was 5 miles and was a loop around the neighborhood of Del Ray, starting and finishing near a junior high school. When I say neighborhood, it really was in the neighborhoods, down side streets and past people’s yards, which was a mixed benefit. On the one hand, lots of families were outside cheering us on and giving us water, but with about 4,100 runners, it got a bit crowded at times.

The race fee was $20 and the organizers did something really nice which was give you the option of buying either a short sleeve tech shirt or a long sleeve cotton shirt for $10 extra. Your choice. I, of course, went with a tech shirt and since I did not know what the sizing would be like, I got a large, which is a bit large, but I did not want a repeat of a smedium incident.

Pick up was pretty easy, and there were plenty of places to donate canned goods to Alive Alexandria, a nonprofit organization of volunteers from over 40 religious congregations and the community working together to help those in need in Alexandria, Virginia. I did not, however, see a bag check place, which was unfortunate since I had worn a heavy jacket that I didn’t intend to run in.

It was an ok race. As always, my only goal was to run the whole race without stopping. But, I had some major stomach issues that really slowed me down. I had to stop a few times in a bit of a panic and with some cramping. There were no porta potties and I spent the whole race trying to figure out whether I would be brave enough to go knock on somebody’s door and ask them to use their bathrooms. It didn’t come to that because of sheer willpower. Also, the only organized water station I saw was at mile 3.5. I don’t usually stop at water stations unless it’s a really long run or really hot, but I did think it was a bit late in the race.

They also had a Doggy and Stroller participation, which people definitely took advantage of, but again, because the course was so narrow, it became a real issue at some points. I definitely saw one person using a double stroller to mow down another runner. Like, rolling up on her heels. And dogs, well, they want to stop and sniff a lot, so dodging them became a very big part of the race.

Hey, while I’m thinking about it, let’s go over some race etiquette.

1)      Don’t wear a marathon shirt to a five mile run. It’s douchey, ING dude. We get it: you’re a serious runner who’s gracing us with your presence today. Wear a race shirt of equivalent distance or less.

2)      This is just me, but I don’t wear the event race shirt until I’ve actually run the event. It’s kinda like being that dork at the concert wearing the band shirt. Again, we get it: you’re a fan, but save it for some other time. Maybe at another race (as long as it’s equal or less distance).

3)      Don’t stretch on the ground in the corrals. I know you need to stretch, I do too, but if people can’t see you because you’re on the ground, people will step on you.

4)      And children? Well, you can guess how I feel about that one.

I finished in 52.25 according to the race clock, but 50:10 according to my Nikeplus, which I paused whenever I had to stop and take a breather. Other stats: I was 903th woman out of 2,148women. 284th in my age group. 2,118th person overall out of 4,053. It was a disappointing race for me time wise. And I definitely took a few walk breaks of about 30 seconds, including a break about ½ mile from the finish, which is really demoralizing.

But, I got over it. At least I went out there and did it. Plus I ran 10 miles a couple days later. And I felt quite superior when I went and gorged later that day.

We’ve gone to our friend’s Matt and Melissa’s every year for the last six years and It. Is. Awesome. There’s usually about eight of us, most of us are repeaters. Basically, our responsibilities as guests are to bring some booze (wine and whatnot) and Matt and Melissa literally do everything else.

We get there about 2 p.m. and start eating. There’s a few appetizers (including pigs-in-a-blanket, my favorite) to munch on while Melissa works her ass off on the rest of the spread, which is a significant amount of food. Amazing turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and not one, but two types of macaroni and cheese. It’s crazy. Oh, and there’s a couple of pies.

It’s a lot of food. And, we always bring our own Tupperware to take home leftovers, which my Gordon-Ramsay-wannabe-for-life-partner XFE turns into amazing grilled sandwiches with avocado, bacon, pepper jack cheese on sourdough bread.

Oh, and sorrys, no pictures. I took a ton of pictures, but they were all on Melissa’s camera. Melissa actually has pictures from all six Thanksgivings, which we looked at this Thanksgiving and that was pretty fun. Some of us have held up pretty well, some not so much. Pretty hilarious stuff.

Speaking of somebody who’s held up well. Some gratuitous Petunia pictures. This is what she was up to while I was running. Neighborhood watch cat.

 

 

 

Race Review: Run! Geek! Run! 8K

Despite my lackadaisical running schedule these days, I pulled myself out of bed yesterday morning to go run the Run Geek Run 8k in West Potomac Park.

Speedy-looking, no?

The race started at 8 am. My personal chauffeur XFE dropped me off as close as he could get and I set off with a banana, my iPod and my camera. I was, of course, ridiculously early and there wasn’t really anything to do, so I spent about 45 minutes just milling about, taking pictures. There was a DJ playing music, which was nice. There was a row of about 12-15 porta-potties, and not too much of a line.

The finish line before the race.

 It was actually a pretty small race. I signed up for it only because it was supposed to have a tech shirt. However, when I went and picked up my race packet on Friday, no tech shirt. In it’s place was a long-sleeved t-shirt. Serious bummer. I tweeted and Facebooked the race event organizers, but did not get a response. So, I brought my shirt along on Saturday morning and tracked someone down to ask about the mix up. She said they’d had sizing issues with the tech shirts. To which I say, get your act together. It’s not the first race of the season. You are a running store, you should probably know a little something about shirt fit at this stage of the game. Whatever.

The offending t-shirt

The race started on time, no corrals or anything. A few people were dressed in their best geek gear. I set a good 10 minute pace from the start and had no real problems. It wasn’t a terribly crowded course where you’re dodging tons of people or anything like that.

I traded spots with these two girls a number of times until they just blazed me the last mile or so. They really kicked it up.

There were water stops at 2 miles and 4 miles, approximately, but I didn’t need them. True story: I saw a woman eating a Gu at around the 1/2 mile mark. Hilarious. It’s just a five mile race — probably don’t need a Gu to replace the approximately 500 calories you’ll be burning. Personally, I’ve never eaten during a run, even my half marathon. I just don’t have the coordination.

 

This was the guy in first place. He passed me when I was about 1.4 miles in, so about 15 minutes in. Crazy. The picture is blurry because I’m so fast. Actually, I didn’t stop for pictures. I’d just stick my camera out and snap.

Me around mile 4. Not very flattering, but I wanted to get a photo of me with the Washington Monument.

This was my time on the second clock, the one after the finish line. I didn’t get a good shot of the finish clock. So I finished in about 50 minutes. I went up and down on my pacing, starting a bit slower, speeding up, slowing down. The usual. I can’t pace for shit.

The post race party was pretty small: water, bagles, bananas and chocolate chip cookies, which was a nice touch. I stuck around for about 30 minutes post-race, and had a cookie while cheering on my fellow racers. Then began the long hike to the metro. The race website insists that it’s a metro-accessible location, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. The nearest metro was Foggy Bottom, which had to be at least a mile or so away. But it was fine. It gave my legs a chance to cool down and my sweat to evaporate.

All in all a good race, but I certainly wouldn’t have done it for a damn t-shirt.

This is my new boyfriend in the background. He basically crossed the finish line the same time as me. Quite humbling.